English Idioms & Idiomatic Expressions
Alphabetical List of Idioms - A
|all sizzle and no steak||Someone or
something that turns out to be
disappointing, after a promotional campaign
or marketing operation which led us to
expect something better, is called all
sizzle and no steak.
Because of the electoral promises he made, which so far he has failed to keep, many people call the new president 'all sizzle and no steak'.
|all skin and bone||If someone is
all skin and bone, they are very thin
or too thin.
After trekking in the Himalayas, he was all skin and bone.
|all things to all people||If you are all things to all people,
you please or satisfy everyone.
She's exhausted tying to be a good wife, a good mother and a good teacher, but she can't be all things to all people.
all thumbs /
all fingers and thumbs
|If you are all
fingers and thumbs, you are awkward and
clumsy and do things incorrectly.
Would you mind wrapping this for me? I'm all fingers and thumbs!
|all told||All told
means the final number, when everything has
The number of visitors to the exhibition, all told, was 2543.
|up/down your alley||If something is
(right) up or down your alley, it
is exactly the sort of thing that will suit
your tastes or abilities.
Alex loves reading, so the job in the bookshop is right up his alley.
|also-ran||This term refers to
an unsuccessful competitor whose performance
is so much poorer than the winner's that it
He entered the contest hoping that he wouldn't end up as an 'also-ran'.
|alter ego||The term alter ego, which in Latin means 'other self', refers to a very close and trusted friend who is very like yourself.|
A lawyer who finds work by persuading people
injured in accidents to claim money from the
person who caused the accident is called an
Peterson and Scott are well-known ambulance chasers - that's how they make their money!
|answer for something||If someone has to
answer for something, they have to
accept responsibility for their actions.
He will have to answer for his dishonesty.
|answer the call of nature / nature's call||When a person
answers the call of nature, they go to
I had to get up in the middle of the night to answer the call of nature.
|ants in one's pants||People who have
ants in their pants are very restless
or excited about something.
I wish he'd relax. He's got ants in his pants about something today.
|anyone's call||This expression is
used when the result of a contest or
election is difficult to predict.
"Who do you think will win?" "It's anyone's call."
|any port in a storm||When you have no
any port in a storm refers to a
solution you accept, which in normal
circumstances you would find unacceptable.
The hotel was substandard, but it was a case of any port in a storm;
all the others were full.
|the apple of your eye||A person, usually a
child, who is the apple of your eye
is one for whom you have great affection.
My grandson is the apple of my eye.
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